Monday, December 14, 2015

Kitty drinking too much water? Watch out for cat kidney disease

Popoki is drinking water right out of my glass
If I pour a glass of water and put it on my desk like this, Popoki is likely to come flying over for a sip. She's not always successful at drinking out of the glass (which I highlighted in a Wordless Wednesday post a few weeks ago), but when she can get a sip of cold and filtered water, she seems so happy. She'll drink that water down until she just can't reach it.

Many of my cats have been the same way about filtered, chilled water.

And I've been asked about their kidney health as a result.

It's an excellent question, as cats with kidney disease tend to become absolute water freaks. They'll sit beside the water bowl for hours and hours, drinking water until they absolutely cannot drink anymore. Troy, in the later stages of his kidney disease, would drink so much water that I started filling up the water bowls in the middle of the day. And sometimes, he would drink so much water that he'd overload his stomach and vomit all of the water back up again.

It's that type of drinking pattern that makes veterinarians worry. And any cat that drinks that much very likely does have a problem that should be addressed.

But routine drinking of tasty and cold water? I'm not so certain that's an issue to be concerned with.

To Popoki, cold and filtered water probably tastes really good. If it's mine, she'd like to share it with me. She also tries to drink my coffee, tee and wine. If it's a fluid that I think is good enough to drink, she thinks she should get a sip of it, too.

Since Popoki eats wet food exclusively, she gets a lot of moisture in each and every meal she eats. So it's rare for her to sit in front of her water bowl before, during or after her meals. In fact, it's rare to see her drink out of a bowl at all.

So I chalk her water obsession up to sheer envy.

But there are ways to make sure her behaviors don't tip into the danger zone.

For starters, I measure how much water she has in her water bowl every morning. I fill the bowl up to the same level when she gets her breakfast, and I eyeball how much water is left in that bowl the next morning. If there are big dips in the level, she might be drinking a little too much.

And changes in drinking habits like that are things I'd need to discuss with my veterinarian. A sudden need for more water should be assessed with urine tests, blood tests and more. That's the best way to spot and treat kidney disease when it appears.

But for now, I'll just pour two glasses of water a few times per day—One for her and one for me. It's her little treat, and as we cat people know, handing out treats is part of the job description.

1 comment:

  1. We have a kitty with kidney issues and she drinks tons of water - in her case, she doesn't really care if it's tap or filtered water.

    But I do agree, handing out treats is absolutely part of the job description.